Healthy vibrant trees, shrubs and plants are all a sign of a well-tended yard. A beautiful flower or vegetable garden is a wonderful complement to any home. These are as much an investment in one’s home as siding or shutters. An important component to a world class garden is knowing how to water it effectively. How do you know how much and when to water? There is no single answer. Weather conditions, soil composition, and the types of plants, shrubs and trees you wish to grow all must be considered. Here is some information about soil and watering strategies that can help you grow a gorgeous garden.
The best time to water the garden is during the morning, this minimizes evaporation. Watering during the night can promote disease. It is important to soak the soil thoroughly so the water reaches the plant’s root zone. Light watering encourages the plant roots to grow near the surface of the soil, where they may become damaged by foot traffic and exposure to sunlight. To test for soil moisture, place your finger into the soil and note the moisture level. For established plants, if the first four inches of soil is dry, watering is needed. For new plants or transplanted plants, water when the first two inches of soil is dry. Annuals may need to be watered more frequently than perennials as their root system is not as established. Some caution must be taken in order of not over-watering plants. Over-watering plants may result in loss of foliage, root damage, disease, and eventually the death of a plant.
Climate and Soil Type
On a hot, sunny day in midsummer, the average lawn can use 125 gallons of water per 1000 square feet. The same lawn on a cloudy day can use as little as 10 gallons of water. Mature trees can consume up to 15 gallons of water per hour on a hot day. Any plant exposed to hot sun, low humidity and strong winds will evaporate large amounts of water that must be replaced or it will quickly dry out and inevitably die.
There are three distinct soil types -clay, loam and sandy. Each has a different ability to absorb water and therefore your watering strategy will be determined in part by the type of soil you have. Coarse sandy soil has large air spaces that quickly fill with water, but also lose water quickly to the subsoil, requiring shorter more frequent watering. Heavier clay or silt soil has numerous smaller spaces that absorb water slowly and hold it longer than sandy soil. Loam type soil falls in between, holding water longer than sandy soil, but not as long as heavy clay soils. If you are unsure of the soil type in your yard, feel free to talk to a member of our nursery staff for help.
Watering Vegetables, Bedding Plants, and Perennials Vegetables, bedding Plants and Perennials are usually small when first planted and therefore have comparatively shallow roots. These plants may have to be watered more often to ensure a consistent water supply. The entire root zone should be moistened before the plants show signs of wilting. If the plants are allowed to wilt a few times, growth will be stunted and harvest yields reduced. Be careful not to over water plants. Over watering can lead to the rotting of the roots and disease
Watering Plants In Containers
Container Plants need special attention. Because the container’s size limits the amount of soil to absorb moisture, these plants have to be watered more often than plants growing in the ground. Watering should begin when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Containers which have been allowed to completely dry out may need to be soaked in water to rewet the soil. A plant which uses a lot of water, such as Fuchsias, or one that is potbound, may have to be watered daily or several times a day. For most container grown plants though , a thorough watering once or twice a week will be sufficient. Plants in plastic or solid containers will have to be watered less often than plants in porous containers or clay pots. Be very careful not to keep the root system constantly soaking wet, which will result in disease.
Watering Trees, Shrubs, and Landscape Plants
Shrubs, trees, and landscaped plants should be watered just inside and outside the dripline , or the outer edge of the plant. In foundation or border plantings, it may be more convenient to water the entire area. A dished-or berm-enclosed area constructed around the base of a-tree or shrub may be filled with water. This allows for slow absorption of water into the root zone. However, on heavier soils, during the rainy season, or in the winter, these basin rims should be watched carefully or removed completely to avoid collection of too much water. Mulching newly established shrubs and trees helps prevent moisture loss. Moisture-demanding plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and ferns, have to be irrigated more often during warm, sunny weather.
Should you have any other questions or concerns regarding the watering of your garden , feel free to ask any member of our nursery staff for assistance
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